Remember when doctors used to use leaches to cure people? (OK, you might not ACTUALLY remember being there for that. I mean, we’re getting older and all, but we’re not that old. Right?) And then they discovered how silly that was when medicine advanced.
How about when they thought the earth was flat? We know better these days.
Or when we though super huge hair with giant, stiff as rock bangs were oh so cool? Thank God that part of the ’80s has not come back in style.
Well, apparently the whole “alpha dog” thing was just like those unfortunately misinformed ideas. How did I find out? Well….Riley kinda flipped out on us this morning. The girls were sitting quietly at the kitchen table when I let Riley out of the cage this morning. He didn’t wait for me to go up the stairs, so I was still at the bottom telling him to come back. When he got up to the kitchen, he took two steps, froze and started growling at the girls. Two seconds later, he put his front paws up on the table and growled/barked at them.
I was scrambling up the stairs, calling for him and he came back towards me. The girls were understandably shocked, but didn’t cry. I got him out into the garage and tried to get through the morning ritual like normal, although rather than being Alpha Momma I felt like Momma Bear – ready to protect my babies.
Thankfully, the Country Boy was here to help give us some space from Riley until we were all back to normal. I then sent a text to the Dog Whisperer (again, my name for her, not one she’d ever use for herself). If anyone would know what to do, it would be her.
We talked a few hours later. She was asking all sorts of questions to the girls, trying to determine what might have been going on – Was his nose scrunched up? Did you see his front teeth? Was he staring at you? Did you look at him back? Was the hair on his back all spiky or normal? What was his tail doing?
The girls were good answering questions and all was going well until I dropped the bomb about Riley going Alpha Dog on us.
The Dog Whisperer was silent for a beat. Then she said, “did you just pull that phrase out of the air or is that something you read about?”
I admitted to her about what I had read and what I had been doing since Wednesday. She was really nice, and very understanding. Apparently, the whole “alpha dog”/dog domination idea came from research done back in the 1940s on wolves. It was fairly well-known and adopted for dog training until the last ten or twenty years. That’s when the field of dog training advanced to learn that the Alpha stuff was, well….phooy, and that some of the techniques (and she named nearly every one of the ones I put in that last post!) where some of the worst things you could do for a dog.
Thankfully, all is not lost. She said to just go back to loving Riley for who he is, play with him when we can, and (for gosh sake) STOP STARING at him. All should be fine and return to the normal level of craziness right away.
So, ignore that last post when it comes to training a dog. And, you might as well ignore it when it comes to parenting your kids. One of the girls had a massive meltdown last night and none of the techniques worked on her either.